Millions of users depend on Google Drive, for both personal and professional work. And Google’s cloud-based file storage solution rarely fails. Even should Google Drive fail you, the company is there to help restore your data. However, you shouldn’t rely on a third party to recover important data should disaster strike.
Anyone who’s ever had to suffer the weight of getting data restored knows just how that feels. It’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I’ve had to rely on Google to restore decades’ worth of work and not knowing if they would succeed had me losing sleep. After that experience, I’ve taken great pains to ensure the contents of my Google Drive account were always backed up.
SEE: Checklist: How to manage your backups (TechRepublic Premium)
For those who’ve yet to travel down that road, you’re going to find a lot of solutions available. Which one is right for you? The answer will depend on how you use Google Drive and if you’re willing to pay for a service, or if you’d like a free (or inexpensive) solution.
Let’s dig into some of the better options available.
Insync was my go-to Google Drive backup solution for years. I only switched when I discovered an open source solution (more on that in a bit) that was more flexible. However, for anyone looking to make use of a cross-platform (Linux, macOS, Windows) backup for Drive that won’t break the bank, this tool should be at the top of your list.
The one caveat to Insync is that it’s better suited for personal Google Drive accounts. If you have a business or enterprise Google Workspaces account (formerly known as G-Suite), you might want to consider a solution that’s geared for that level of backup.
Even so, Insync is a great solution that includes features such as file manager integration, base folders, selective sync, 1-way sync, folder merging, multicloud and multiple account support, cloud browser, cloud shortcuts, file & folder sharing, docs conversion, ignore rules, real-time feed viewing and support.
Insync has three plans:
- Solo — $29.99 for 1 account for unlimited machines
- Personal — $39.99 for unlimited accounts on unlimited machines
- Developer — $59.99 for unlimited accounts on unlimited machines with ignore rules and network drive syncing
Check out the feature/price matrix for more information.
Rclone/RcloneBrowser is my current Google Drive backup solution of choice. I migrated to this option not only because it’s open source, but because I have complete control over how the backups work. Using RcloneBrowser I can generate an Rclone script for copying all new files from my Google Drive account to a locally attached drive on my desktop machine. With the same tool, I create a script that uploads new files from my desktop to Google Drive.
Next, I employ crontab to run those two jobs at different times and it has worked, without fail, for years. It is, however, imperative that you always keep Rclone and RcloneBrowser up to date, as Google is constantly moving the goalposts on developers. Because of this, one-day Rclone will work fine and the next it’s broken. By keeping everything up to date, you avoid having to deal with a broken API (so long as the developers were able to fix any problem tossed their way).
Both Rclone and RcloneBrowser are free to use.
Now we start getting into more enterprise-capable solutions, the first of which is Backupify, an automated backup solution for Google Workspace & Microsoft 365. Backupify can help you recover from accidentally deleted Gmail or Drive files, prevent files from being deleted by former employees or deprovisioned licenses, guard against Workspace outages, handle failed third-party integrations and ransomware attacks, and maintain control over your cloud data.
With Backupify, you can schedule three backups per day or even run them on demand at any time across all of your key Google apps. This solution will also auto-detect new user creation and automatically archive departing employee data. With intelligent API throttling for Google data requisitions, Backupify is able to back up TBs of data quickly and reliably and restore data with just a few clicks. Full domain restore is also available. All of these features are available from an intuitive dashboard.
To find out the cost of Backupify, you must request a quote from the pricing page.
Spanning is another enterprise-class Google Drive backup solution that can protect you from human errors, illegitimate file deletion, programmatic errors, malicious insiders, malware/ransomware and hackers.
Like Backupify, Spanning covers all of the Google Workspace essential apps (Gmail, Google Drive, Calendars, Contacts and Sites). Spanning does not limit storage capacity or number of backups created.
This automatic solution runs daily in the background, backing up all users in your organization. After an initial full backup, Spanning will begin daily incremental backups to stay up to date. On top of the daily incrementals, Spanning allows admins to run manual backups at any time. Backups can also consist of the full suite of tools or admins can select which Google apps to back up. So if you only need Google Drive backed up, you can configure Spanning to take care of just that app.
Spanning also includes a dashboard to monitor all recent Workspace backups and view the health of all backups and even inspect them to resolve any potential errors before they impact either the user or the business.
SysCloud does a fine job of keeping Google Drive backed up and adds automated monitoring for malicious files to help keep your data safe. SysCloud makes it simple to recover from human errors, malicious acts, ransomware, phishing scams, technical errors, compliance issues and cloud outages.
One very nice feature of SysCloud is the easy-to-use data search feature. By using a keyword search tool you can quickly find lost files from both data content and metadata descriptions. And because SysCloud works across all of the Google Workspace essential apps, you can be certain all of your data will be backed up and safe.
Once you’ve set up a SysCloud automated backup, the software will take care of all API errors, so you can focus on more important tasks. And with a user-friendly approach to file recovery, your users can export their backed up data and import it into their email client of choice and even download specific files (even from specific dates) to local storage on their devices.
The price of SysCloud is $4/per user/month for the Professional plan (which includes a single daily backup). For the Enterprise plan (which includes up to three backups per day) you must contact sales. For more information on the plans, check out the SysCloud price matrix.
The route you take will depend on the amount of data you have to back up and how much money you care to spend. But each of these solutions has been tested and proved to be reliable options for backing up Google Drive and more.